April 15-17, 2016
Grand Isle, Louisiana
The Grand Isle Migratory Bird Festival, initiated in 1998, was created in part to support the purchase and management of the Grand Isle Sanctuary to protect some of the last remaining undeveloped chenier habitats. Only 10% of these live oak ridges are left on Grand Isle.
Participants in the Grand Isle Migratory Bird Festival can see songbirds in oak-hackberry woods, shorebirds and waders on beaches and in the marshes. There are raptors overhead. Grand Isle is an essential stop for songbirds during their spring and fall migrations across the Gulf of Mexico. Grand Isle is one of the best places in the world to see and study migratory birds up-close.
5 Grand Isle Migratory Bird Festival Trails:
Lafitte Woods Preserve’s Grilleta Tract
This 13 acres of mostly maritime forest, is home to approximately 100 species of songbirds including scarlet tanagers, gray catbirds, blue grosbeaks, thrushes, and prothonotary, yellow, and hooded warblers. Red mulberry, black willow, red bay, and live oak trees, some older than 125 years, comprise the heart of this portion of the Grand Isle Birding Trail. It is one of two remaining stands of undeveloped maritime forest on the island.
Grand Isle Port Commission Marsh
This 22 acres of salt marsh, tidal ponds, and sparsely forested uplands is home to hundreds of species of birds. There are raptors, colonial nesting birds, songbirds, sandpipers, Brown Pelicans, Willets and herons. Most of the birds feed along the food-rich shores. Grosbeaks, tanagers, and buntings feed in the tall grasses and trees on higher ground.
Lafitte Woods Preserve’s Maples and Landry/LeBlanc
This 20-acre wooded site refered to as Sureway Woods is adjacent to Sureway Supermarket off of Highway LA 1 between Post and Nacarri Lanes.
LSU AgCenter Cemetery Woods
This 4.5-acre remnant forest has live oaks over 125 years old, hackberry trees and undergrowth. This is classic “chenier” habitat. The LSU property includes and additional 2-acre salt flat on the eastern end of the island near the ExxonMobil Gas Plant. Resident marsh birds nest along this part of the Grand Isle Birding Trail. Ducks, moorhens, mergansers, grebes and other birds can be found here.
Lafitte Woods Preserve’s Govan Tract
This 0.5-acre wooded parcel donated to the Nature Conservancy of Louisiana is full of live oaks, hackberries, youpon, dewberry, virginia creeper, and poison oak. Painted and indigo buntings, Red-winged Blackbirds, Orchard Orioles, warblers, jays, Northern Cardinals and many other birds can be seen here during the migratory season.
Grand Isle Migratory Bird Festival activities include:
- Birdwatching tours
- Island history
- Bird art and crafts
- Binoculars and field guides
- Fun activities for families with children
- Free videos
- Free colorful bird publications
- T-shirts, posters and hats
- Bird games and prizes
The Lafourche Chamber of Commerce Sanctuary Group offers the annual festival at the peak of bird migration in April. The festival also is supported by the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program. The Grand Isle Community Development Team, as well as The Louisiana Nature Conservancy, are also major co-sponsors of the event.